MotoIQ Staff
   
Mike Kojima, President

Hometown: Gardena, CA  Cars: Classified  Favorite Nerd: Not Michio Kaku

Mike Kojima has been working hard at blowing up and crashing stuff throughout his 27-year professional automotive career. He has always had a passion for things mechanical from an early age. As a small child Mike was adept at taking expensive things apart and not always being able to put them back together, much to his parent's dismay. Some things never change, as an adult the things are now bigger and even more expensive.  Mike's professional automotive and motorsports engineering carrier has been wide and varied with stints as an engineer at Toyota Racing Development (TRD), Nissan North America and Nismo North America as well as Pep Boys. Mike has also served as an engineering consultant for many performance parts manufactures. A prolific author Mike's writing can be found regularly in the pages of Sport Compact Car Magazine, Turbo Magazine where he was Engineering Editor, Honda Tuner, Import Tuner, Project Car and Grass Roots Motorsports magazine as well as several books for HP publications.  Mike holds or has held NASA, SCCA and IMSA racing licenses and has participated in just about every form of racing from BMX to autocross and has broken nearly every bone in his body. Mike is also old, old enough to be one of the pioneers of the import performance scene at its birth in the 70's to the popularity it's enjoying now.  Mike is perhaps best known for his famous quote, "Do you want to go fast or do you want to suck?"

The Real Mike Kojima

Jeff Naeyaert, Vice President

Avoiding the torture of creative writing, Jeff fills the role of strategy/biz dev guy as well as photographer. He brings considerable knowledge in online media from business development positions held at Fastclick, an online ad network acquired by ValueClick Media and Homestore.com (now Move, Inc.). Prior to that Jeff was an investment banking analyst at Southwest Securities in Dallas, Texas. Jeff's various "corporate" positions provided enough resources for him to build what was once considered the "Fastest Track Sentra in Existence" and more recently an LS1 powered FD RX-7. Jeff knows just enough about fabrication and auto mechanics to be dangerous, scoffs at the idea of paying someone else to wrench on his car and insists on doing all his own work—for better or often times worse. His photography has graced the pages of Sport Compact Car Magazine, an HP Book and his website LocalsNight.com, an exposé of the nightlife and entertainment scene in Santa Barbara, California where he currently lives. Jeff holds a BS in Finance and Real Estate Finance from Southern Methodist University.  His favorite food is corn and his favorite color is green.

Jeff Naeyaert

Aaron LaBeau, Director - IT  

Hometown: Phoenix, AZ  Cars: 2007 Honda Civic Si (Project Civic Si)  Favorite Nerd: Nerd James May (Captain Slow) The King of Ad Nauseam

Aaron is the site administrator, database guru and janitor.  Claims have been made that his first actual words were turbo-charger.  In his early years he read every new car magazine he could get his hands on.  John Phillips and Tony Swan of Car & Driver always entertain with their combination of humor and intelligent words and continue to serve as inspiration to this day.  The path of automotive insanity started back in April of 1994 when Aaron purchased a 1993 Nissan Sentra SE-R and like his fellow colleagues here turbo-charged the bejeasus out of it thanks to Mike Kojima's over-persuasive suggestion of "do you want to go fast or suck?"  He has a degree in Communication with a secondary focus of High Technology Management from California State University San Marcos.  Although most of his time is spent sorting through programming languages, every once-in-awhile the boss lets Aaron take a break from the keyboard.  If you've read this far hit Alt-Tab for some relief, apple-Tab for you Mac users and you Linux hackers already know everything (wink).

Aaron LaBeau

Martin Gonzales, Director - Sales & Marketing 

Hometown: Lima, Peru.......but currently in Corona, CA  Cars: 92 Sentra SE-R daily, 99 Sentra SE-L never ending project, 92 Sentra SE-R Lemons Car, 92 G20 Racecar  Favorite Nerd: David Neevel

Martin Gonzales' unique balance of automotive experience and business smarts have led him to our MotoIQ team. His automotive roots were cultivated on the roads and race tracks of Southern California. Not only as a licensed racer with NASA, pilot in the 24 Hours of Lemons, but also as a test driver for various rental car companies...unofficially. Knowing motorsports don't finance themselves, he has spent the better part of the last decade managing teams for marketing firms and financial institutions.
Since the first day he hit the tarmac he's known his true calling – to build and drive his creations at their limits. His dual-purpose street cars, dedicated race machines, writings and photography have made their way to web pages and motorsport magazines alike. We are lucky and excited to have a talent like Martin on our side as we strive to turn up the signal and quiet the noise. And yes, ours will go to 11!

The Real Mike Kojima

Nick Betz, Advertising Account Manager 

Hometown: Yorba Linda, CA  Cars: 98 BMW 323is (Project E36)  Favorite Nerd: Nicolas Joseph Cugnot

I started my love for racing when I was around 10, I started with R/C cars, then BMX at around 13, at 16 I started drag racing my 1989 Mustang GT, which I do like to brag about my perfect light .500 and perfect dial 13.42 in one pass! I went to UTI, and after that I got out of Motorsports for a while looking to work in banking and finance.  After that ran it's course I was tapped by my good friend Martin Gonzales at MotoIQ to come on board to help with advertising sales, and social media.  You won't see my name writing any articles, occasionally you will see some photography from me in the articles but in no way am I a professional photographer. My work is all behind the scenes, you will however see the fruit of my labor on the right hand side of the website as I bring on more and more advertising partners to work with MotoIQ.  If you are interested in partnering with us, please don't hesitate to contact me!

Nick Betz
MotoIQ Editors

Cheston Chiu

Hometown: Redondo Beach, CA  Cars: 2003 Nissan 350z, 2008 Mitsubishi Evo X MR, 1989 Nissan 240sx, Power Wheels 18V Lightning McQueen  Favorite Nerd(s): Giovanni Venturi, James Maxwell, Daniel Bernoulli

Cheston brings a "unique" perspective with his experiences in aeronautical flight test and evaluation, to the MotoIQ staff.  Captivated with jets as a kid, and then starting his interests in cars in college, it was only a matter of time before both worlds collided.  He is totally obsessed with anything related to vehicle aerodynamics and has the JDM parts to prove it!  His backyard looks like a used car parts lot which drives his wife crazy, and she threatens regularly to sell everything for $1 OBO on Craigslist.   Cheston has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from UCLA. It was at UCLA where he helped design and build an off-road vehicle for the SAE Mini-Baja competition as well as assisting with composite parts fabrication for the SAE Human-powered vehicle project.  Cheston leveled up his nerdom by obtaining his M.S. in Systems Architecture and Engineering from cross-town rival USC.  When not flying at Mach-2 with his hair on fire, Cheston assists with project builds and media/public relations at TechnoSquare Inc. Cheston is also an avid collector (or hoarder) of Star Wars, GI Joes, Transformers and LEGO toys.  Instead of sharing with his kids, he keeps them mint in box and in various hiding places around the house and chooses to imagine what it would be like to play with them if he were to actually open the packaging and thus de-valuing his collection.  Despite all these interests, he still manages to find time to be Super Dad to his two kids and Doting Husband to his wife of almost 10 years.

Cheston Chiu

Name: Chuck Johnson - Editor   Hometown: Noneya, CA  Cars: 1988 Nissan Sentra; 1992 Nissan 240SX; 2006 Nissan Titan; 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R, Super Mario Spec  Favorite Nerd: Data from Goonies

Somewhere in the thousands of hours Chuck Johnson has spent wrenching on cars, he came to the conclusion that a gear head’s automotive experiences should extend beyond that of the garage floor. Since then, Chuck has turned each of his projects into a means of experiencing some kind of new gear head adventure. Fortunately for us, we can live vicariously through Chuck’s builds instead of blowing our own life savings on constructing a land speed record breaking 240SX or building a 400 plus horsepower Sentra to race the Silver State Classic Challenge. Chuck’s approach towards college and his career remained consistent with his perhaps skewed, gear head philosophy. Chuck completed his Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology at CSULA with an emphasis in Power, Energy, and Transportation. During his time at CSULA, Chuck was heavily involved in leading nerds, specifically the SAE student chapter and their competition Super Mileage team. After graduation, Chuck abruptly, and perhaps irresponsibly, quit his job in aerospace to seek out his place in the automotive industry. In the long run this would pay off. He currently spends his days as a manager of engineering, leading some of the most talented technical teams and innovative product development projects in motorsports today. Right or wrong, to Chuck, his passion for everything automotive is a way of life.

Chuck Johnson

Name: Merritt Johnson Morris - Editor   Hometown: Long Beach, CA  Cars: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro 3.6L V6 RS  Favorite Nerd: William F. Milliken

An original East Coaster, but ended up in Southern California for a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I have worked for automotive performance parts manufacturers as well as professional race. I now work on the future of automotive technology in the world of hybrid and electric powertrain development for an OEM manufacturer.

 

 

 

 

Merrit Johnson Morris

Name: Mike Bonanni - Editor   Hometown: Las Vegas, NV  Cars: Nissan 370Z  Favorite Nerd: Either Mike Kojima or Booger from Revenge of the Nerds

Mike has been into cars since he was born. Growing up in a family of car enthusiasts, family folklore states that Mike could name all the car manufacturers by emblem at the age of two. Even with all of that, Mike didn’t find his way into racing until he was 18 years old. Starting at the drag strip with a home-built '70 Chevelle, Mike eventually found his way to autocross once he got his first sports car, a Nissan 350Z. From autocross came track days which led him into time attack where he’s found the most success. Starting out campaigning his own team with that same 350Z now turned track car Mike eventually found his way into the driver's seat of cars for other teams. Mike has also done some traditional wheel-to-wheel racing and was actually our first ever MotoIQ MPTCC Tuner Over class champion in 2011. Looking toward the future, Mike is knee deep in a BMW M3 racecar build for grassroots endurance racing in 2014. To support this bank account robbing super hobby known as motorsports, Mike is a full-time driving instructor out at Exotics Racing in Las Vegas where he teaches tourists how to drive high dollar exotic supercars around a 1.2-mile road course. He also does private coaching, car setup, build consulting, and writes articles for PASMAG on the side. Mike's dreams are to be sponsored by a bourbon company and teach Oprah Winfrey how to drive race cars.

Mike Bonanni

Name: Steve Rockwood, aka "Hop Singh" - Editor   Hometown: Whale's Vagina, aka San Diego  Cars: Project G20 Racecar, Project Hypermiler, 2008 Nissan Xterra 4x4, 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 (with Cummins power), 2003 SR20DET-powered Dune Buggy, 1998 Nissan 200SX SE-R (462whp garage ornament)  Favorite Nerd: Cameron Frye

Baptized in oil at the ripe age of 18 months when he pulled a pan of used motor oil over his head, Steve has been nuts about cars since the first spark of memory showed up in his somewhat-self-aware brain.  Incapable of leaving anything alone for long, and firmly believing that all auto manufacturers make cars the way they are just to irritate him, Steve has spent the better part of the last 20 years in a car nerd’s version of Sisyphus and his ginormous rock.  Car-related hobbies include wheel to wheel racing the never fast enough MPTCC #73 G20, drag racing his over-powered-beer-can-turned-garage-ornament SE-R, taking his Nissan-powered dune buggy off of some sweet jumps, and exploring the few back woods trails of Southern California that haven’t been cordoned off by enviro-nazis.  With his pedantic vocabulary, abrasive personality, and inclination towards vehicular self-torture (who else buys an SE-R on purpose?), Steve has little choice but to be a car nerd and hopes to remain a contributor to the MotoIQ Nerd Alliance for at least the next 20 or 30 minutes.

Steve Rockwood

Name: Tatsu Tsuchida - Editor   Hometown: Placentia, CA  Cars: AP86 in the works  Favorite Nerd: Soichiro Honda, basic rags to riches story

Aimless teen-ager with a mechanic for a father. I grew up around a garage all my life, but didn't really take an interest in cars until the Honda rage of the mid-nineties. Dad had bought me a '94 Accord, which I started to modify extensively. A family friend, Ryotaro Oku, owner of Racing Beat, then importer of RSR springs had given me my first mod: Lowering springs. A few more years would transpire, but a chance meeting at a coffee house with Jared Holstein, former Sport Compact Car staffer would prove a life altering friendship. A few months later Jared would scout me for my Japanese Language ability in a press trip to Yokohama, Japan with Tein suspension. Post college years I enrolled in the JET Program, available through the Japanese Embassy, where native English speakers team with Japanese teachers of English. Certainly was a good way to explore the country that birthed my parents. It was also a good way to explore tuning garages and write about them. That was the start actually of me writing. If James Tate (then SCC staffer) hadn't mentioned to me in an email being well written, I probably wouldn't have had the confidence to even begin to write.

Tatsu Tsuchida
© 2014 MotoIQ.com